Worldwide increase of crime on farms

It is not only in South Africa where farmers and their businesses are targets of crime.

Crime on farms have increased globally and more produce and equipment have been stolen.

At the International Conference for Local Crime, international speakers discussed how farmers across the world are increasingly concerned and anxious. They also talked about how other farmers, like those in South Africa, experience problems with police reaction times.

However, no speaker mentioned an example corresponding with the nature of farm attacks in South Africa.

According to Joseph Donnermeyer, professor emeritus from the Ohio State University in the USA, farm attacks result in damages worth millions of rands for farmers.

He said across the world farmers are concerned that crimes committed on their land are not taken seriously. It is difficult to investigate and apprehend culprits, those found guilty aren’t sentenced severely and officials are unsympathetic.

In many instances, cases go unreported.


Emmanuel Bunei from the Moi University in Kenya referred to a so-called tweeting chief which is very successful with reporting crime on Twitter.

He said there is a dramatic increase in crime in agriculture in Africa. Where there were opportunities, crime becomes organised, crime networks get involved and the crimes have a commercial or entrepreneurial nature.

Bunei said over the past few decades the consistency and intensity of cattle theft have reached uncontrollable levels and impoverishes local communities.

In Kenya, cattle theft has led to the murder of police officers and farmers.

He said systems for identifying livestock needs serious attention, legislation must be reviewed and strengthened with technology and resources and investments must be made in research and information capturing.


Dr. Elaine Barclay from the University of New England in Australia said it is important to bring crime on farms to the attention of governments locally and internationally.

In Australia, farmers experience theft in addition to incidents of vandalism, arson, animal cruelty and trespassing. Illegal hunters are also an increasing problem. Roughly, 59% of farmers had similar cases in 2014 compared to 26% in 2002.

Barclay said Australia’s national identity scheme for livestock plays an important role to recover stolen cattle, while DNS testing has also become increasingly important.

Speakers said social media is handy, especially where farmers live far from each other.

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